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Schoolboys versus men - full match report
Schoolboys versus men - full match report
Sunday, 14th Apr 2013 22:20

This was meticulous preparation meets moodily pathetic. A well-oiled machine against a broken down banger. Schoolboys versus men.

It’s been the sad story of a disastrous season.

With that in mind, this was perhaps a fitting way for Queens Park Rangers to be all-but relegated.

As the hardy souls in the away-end at full-time tried to get their head around another lifeless display and deal with the thought of Tuesday nights at Barnsley and Brentford, not a single QPR player took the time to show their appreciation of the die-hard following. How grimly predictable.

Mathematically they can still survive - with five straight wins - but mentally and physically the players know their fate. It was clear from the minute Darron Gibson’s deflected drive wrong-footed Julio Cesar.

Two goals down, following Victor Anichebe’s second, and with 30 minutes to save their season – QPR, bar Loic Remy and a far underused Adel Taarabt, went into their shells and more a less accepted the situation. If this is how the final five games are going to transpire - with this level of commitment on show - Loftus Road may struggle to fill 10,000+ at this rate.

For the last 45 minutes here it seemed the majority of the playing staff were thinking about at which club they will be plying their trade at next season.

Rumours of Julio Cesar being on the phone to Kia Joorabchian for every Everton set-piece have not been confirmed but would be foolish to rule-out. It would explain his disappearance act as Everton peppered the Rangers goalmouth with the dead-ball prowess of Leighton Baines and an immensely powerful aerial threat. Of course, on paper, QPR should be well set-up to deal with such obvious aerial bombardment: they forked out £12million for such occasions. But only modern-day QPR could manage to spend that amount of money to bring in centre-half Christopher Samba who, since leaving Russia, doesn’t do winning headers in important areas of the football pitch. Anichebe (yes Victor Anichebe) and Marouane Fellaini made mincemeat of him and Clint Hill for 90 minutes.

Everton’s tactics were not rocket science. They pushed high and pushed hard, played in the right areas, and then once gaining territorial advantage, kept the pressure on the QPR backline with well thought out and accurate set-pieces. This is how both goals materialized. QPR’s disorganized nature from dead-ball situations and inability to win the first, second, third, and at times fourth, ball in the penalty box was unforgiveable for a side in their position.

Perhaps, QPR also could have expected to be a threat from set-pieces themselves with Samba in the side. He bagged 19 goals in a succesfull career at Blackburn and was always one of their main goal threats.

When Rangers tried to mirror Everton’s direct philosophy, the result was laughable. In fairness the classy Loic Remy and his front duo of Andros Townsend and Junior Hoilett did OK to force the platform to build some pressure from set-pieces. But what transpired next was frustratingly predictable. Every chance for Rangers to deliver a set-piece was wasted. Esteben Granero, a man who was signed for a reported club-record-fee in the summer, has made hitting the first man an art form this season whilst other opportunities were equally wasted by various others. If QPR are going to throw the ball into the box, then why don’t they have a plan? Mix it up maybe? What are they doing on the training field?

Rangers made three changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Wigan Athletic six days earlier. Ji-Sung Park replaced the suspended Bobby Zamora whilst Nedum Onouha and Esteban Granero took the places of Armand Traore and Stephen Mbia, who omission has yet to be explained. Adel Taarabt and Jay Bothroyd, despite the must-win nature of the game, were only required for the bench.

It was clear from the outset that the plan early on for Rangers was to sit deep, soak up pressure when needed, then break quickly through Hoilett, Townsend and Remy. For a must-win game such as this my eyes did roll at this tactic employed by Redknapp, but for the first 5-10 minutes QPR looked a threat on the counter. Two attacks were instigated by Townsend, who started where he left off against Wigan. His first Speedy Gonzalez impression, where he flew past four Everton players fizzled out, but he repeated the trick minutes later, driving fully 50 yards before setting up Hoilett, who cut inside but could only curl a 20-yard effort wide.

Townsend isn’t the finished article just yet though. His defensive flaws were shown up by Baines on plenty of occasions here. None more so when a clever one-two between the England full-back and Steven Pienaar opened Rangers up down the left on 10 minutes. Baines’ cross was a peach but Anichebe completely mistimed his driving header as the ball flew across the box. Samba, (reportedly munching on a Quarter-Pounder) was stood fully three yards away from the unmarked Anichebe and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Back came QPR and some good hold-up play from Remy forced a corner. His hard work was subsequently wasted by Granero. His scuffed corner sent Everton away on the counter. Minutes later Baines then showed QPR just how important set-pieces can be in a side’s make-up by forcing Cesar to come and flap at a brilliant delivery. There was plenty more to come.

As the game progressed it was clear Everton were keen on targeting the midfield trio of Park, Jermaine Jenas and Granero in possession. Not until Samba Diakité entered the fray when the game was up did Rangers have any urgency or ability to control or dictate the game. The trio buzzed around without actually having any impact on the game whatsoever due to the pressure put on them by their opposite numbers. Granero especially looks bewildered by the fact opposition players are allowed to hassle him when trying to pick a pass. By restricting the supply line to Townsend and Remy, Everton had shut down QPR as an attacking threat.

Saying that, Everton weren’t creating much. Bar set-pieces, QPR seemed to be quelling the threat they provided and nearly nicked an unlikely lead on 27 minutes. Remy dropped deep and worked the ball with Townsend, and Park, who showed at Southampton he can produce quality from the by-line when asked, drove into the area and squared a clever ball back into Remy. The Frenchman adjusted his body like the top-class finisher he is but his brilliant first-time strike was tipped away by Howard.   

That should have been the catalyst for Rangers to get Everton hot under collar. Push them in. Keep the pressure on. Make them defend. Get the crowd on their back. Unfortunately, QPR corners render a pointless exercise. Two came into the danger area. Granero hit the first man. Then Townsend took one short, made the angle for delivery impossible and it was cleared.

Everton were about to show QPR how to pressurize opponents into submission minutes later. From a Baines corner, first Fellaini and then Kevin Mirallas had half chances blocked after Rangers failed to win the first ball. Even when the ball was cleared, Everton worked the ball back into the danger area before Mirallas again struck a chance wide.

Everton kept the pressure high for the next 10 minutes. Jose Bosingwa lazily hauled down Seamus Coleman on the right and was deservedly booked. From the free-kick, Baines showed Everton are more than a one-trick one pony, and pulled the ball back to Gibson on the edge of the box. The former United man struck a cross shot into the goalmouth and somehow Distan and Fellaini, who were both unmarked, poked the ball wide from six yards. QPR defenders mesmerized, awestruck, dumbfounded, by a simple set-piece yet again.

Still Rangers couldn’t get out. Baines’ next delivery forced more mayhem in the QPR box, which in fairness to Hill he did well under pressure to clear. But when the ball was returned out wide to Baines, he pulled the back to edge of the box, Mirallas shot was blocked and the ball squirmed out to Gibson. Should he have shot? Probably not. The ball was coming at him at an awkward angle 25-yard out. In fact, Cesar would have been begging him to have a pop. The shot, as expected, was pretty poor and going to be dealt with by Cesar, but Hill’s knee deflected the ball perfectly into the opposite side of the net where Cesar was covering. Cruel? Yes. Unlucky? Certainly. Undeserved? Hardly.

Whatever stuffing was left in QPR’s fight for survival was clearly knocked out of them by that deflected effort. Out they came second half with the look of a stroppy teenager who had just been grounded. This attitude was quickly seized upon by Everton as they took full advantage in the opening moments of the second half. Another wave of constant pressure was coming, and once again, it would result in a goal.

Anichebe should have doubled the lead six minutes before it eventually came. Mirallas made Bosingwa, now completely in holiday mode, look like a one-eye browed Donkey on the byline before cutting the ball back to Anichebe. Whilst Samba, for the sixth time in the match, looked on in amazement that the limited striker had evaded his clutches again, Hill came flying in with a block. Anichebe shifted the ball to make the Rs captain look desperate but then showed his true limitations by somehow hitting the post from six yards. Bosingwa cleared off the line.

The wave of blue came again. This time forcing a corner on the right. Baines again picked out his man with ease, this time Distan, who rose above Hill to plant a header which Cesar tipped wide of the post.

Within the next three minutes another two set-pieces came in from Baines. Both just about dealt with. With Redknapp fuming on the side at his side’s inability to get hold of the ball, the final nail in QPR’s season was hammered in. The source of the goal was mind-numbingly predictable.

Baines probably delivered his worst set-piece of the match from the right. High into the clouds it went – meat and drink for most Premier League centre-backs you would assume. But Distan, a carbon copy of his chance minutes earlier, rose easily above Hill and planted a header goalwards, which was turned in from two yards by Anichebe. Bosingwa, his marker, was stood two yards away, picking his nose, counting his wages, whatever – not doing his job.

Adel Taarabt was finally thrown into the fray by Redknapp - 61 minutes too late, if you ask me – and Rangers finally had something they had been missing for the majority – a link between the midfield and Remy.

Taarabt wasn’t spectacular in the 29 minutes on the pitch, but he made QPR more of a threat. He’s brave, in terms of possession. He goes looking for the ball in tight situations and he takes pressure off defenders.

Everton, perhaps taking the foot of the gas a little knowing the game was won, were restricted to long shots for the remainder. Mirallas, who looks another great find by David Moyes, fired a speculative 30-yard half volley that Cesar palmed way in spectacular fashion. QPR, with their Premier League survival hanging by a thread, didn’t take advantage of Everton’s drop in tempo though.

Diakité looked bright when he came on for the useless Granero, and went on a marauding run down the left flank that provides QPR with hope for next season. He could be an asset if staying sound.   

Taarabt and Remy linked up well at times; with the Frenchman dragging a shot into the midriff of Howard, and Onuoha latched onto a great Taarabt through ball but was also denied by Howard.

But the game rather fizzled out to a bleak conclusion.

This “It’s so unfair!” attitude that a majority of the playing staff showed here is good for no-one and has to change in the next few weeks.

Rangers are relegated, that is pretty clear now, but a similar lackluster attitude in the last five games could prove detrimental to what relationship is left between the players and the club’s loyal supporters.

QPR: Cesar 5, Onuoha 6, Hill 5, Samba 5, Bosingwa 4, Hoilett 6, Jenas 5, Park 5 (Taarabt 61 6), Granero 5 (Diakité 74 6), Townsend 6, Remy 7

Subs Not Used: Green, Ben-Haim, Mackie, Fabio, Bothroyd

Booked: Bosingwa (foul), Townsend (foul) Granero (foul)

Everton: Howard 7, Baines 7, Jagielka 6, Distan 7, Mirallas 8 (Heitinga 90 - ), Osman 6, Gibson 7, Pienaar 6, Anichebe 8 (Jelavic 81 - ), Fellaini 7 (Naismith 86 - ).

Booked: Gibson (foul), Pienaar (foul), Fellaini (foul)

QPR Star Man: Loic Remy 7 The best of a mediocre bunch. Despite being clearly talented, and set for a Premier League move in the summer, he still works to maximum capacity for the cause. Was given no support for 60 minutes until Taarabt entered the fray, but still nearly managed to give QPR the lead in the first half by forcing Howard into a smart save. He will be sorely missed next season.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire) 5 Very quick to get the book out and turned a calm game into a scrappy affair. Didn’t really have to make a big decision, but the way he was going, would have got it wrong.

Attendance: 34,876 (900 away approx)

Tweet @loftforwords, @_LJones_

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MelakaRanger added 03:30 - Apr 15
After flying 6000 miles to watch this match I was appalled at the total lack of any drive / desire or fight in our team. To me it appeared that to a man, none of them wanted to be there.

Everton were not a good team but there was only ever one team that wanted the ball, fought for every ball, chased the man down and it wasn't QPR.

Time and again we had the ball in an attacking position yet no one was running forward to give options. No one was looking for the pass. It was pathetic.

You know, we should have beaten Everton. Their first goal was an unlucky deflection. That should have galvanised the team to right a wrong. But no, they just gave up.

Where was the team that 3 nil down to Fulham, fought and nearly surprised us all? I'll tell you where it was. No where!

Tony was about 6 feet from me and his expression throughout spoke volumes.

Bosingwa was there in body only. Remy was quiet. Park and Granero were F'ing pathetic. In fact no one in my mind deserves Man of the Match. No one fought. No one showed that they cared. I wasn't angry. I was sad, very sad.

The two yellow cards given for kicking the ball away were totally unnecessary and showed the teams state of mind. They just didn't give a toss. You could see that Harry couldn't believe what he was seeing. After Townsend was booked for his needless petulant kicking of the ball, Harry was shouting at him and playacting the giving of the yellow. I didn't hear what Harry was shouting but it must have been along the lines WTF were you thinking!??!! But Townsends reaction was to extend his arms and shrug his shoulders at Harry. His expression said (to me) - what are are shouting at me for, what did I do wrong?


And I disagree that Taarbat was underused and should have played from the start. He was no better than any of them and had one of his many (now usual) off days. Had he started he wouldn't have made one iota of difference. His idolisation by many is unwarranted. He is yesterdays man, living off one season of brilliance. Regrettably the past two seasons have been full of disappointment, lackluster performances interspersed with the occasional spark of magic. In my mind if we can flog him this summer (along with a good number of others) we should do.

This team , playing like this will not get another point this season. This team, playing like this will be in another relegation fight next year.

But I am convinced that 'this team' will not be 'this team' much longer. At Loftus Road we have too many 'over the hill' (no pun intended) players living off past glories - Bowsinger, Park, SWP for example. We also have players that have performed at way below what they should have /could have - Hoilett, Green, Taarabt, Granero for example and we have players that would fight to the death for QPR but sadly are now past it and just cannot play week in week out - Derry, Hill for example.

Hopefully come the summer many of those players will be gone.

I am also totally convinced that whatever it takes, Tony and his partners will fix this. Failure is not an option. Failure is not in their blood. They have learnt some hard and expensive lessons over the last 18 months. Let no one doubt their commitment to QPR and to us fans. In fact I think that relegation will actually make them even more determined. Hopefully it will be a case of one step backwards to go two steps forward?

How I wish that footballers were on performance related pay - like much of the working population. Most of our bunch would be on minimum wage this year!

Anyway, rant over. I am expecting nothing at all from this team for the remaining time in the Premiership but next year I am expecting great things from Harry, the Owners and a team of players with very different attitudes.



WokingR added 08:55 - Apr 15
I heard that Mbia was suspended for having accumulated 9 yellow cards

MelakaRanger added 09:22 - Apr 15
I heard that he was dropped to avoid the almost inevitable 10th yellow which would have given him a ban. Now all yellows are cleared for the remaining part of the season so he now has a clean slate and no ban

probbo added 09:29 - Apr 15
The only 'positive' was that we did manage to hold out for 30 minutes (while Everton struggled to find any rhythm) and almost took the lead in the process but after the first goal went in, it was game over.

My wife made a very valid point 10 minutes in to the second half when she said of our midfield and defence 'they (ie QPR) can't keep hold of the ball - every time they get it they just give it away'. And she was spot on. All too often the ball would be aimlessly hoofed out of defence straight to an Everton player or if our midfielders did win it, they would give it away to one of their counterparts. This inability to keep possession and string a few passes together (coupled with committing needless fouls) was guaranteed to have us on the back-foot.

Not that we had much of a midfield. I could see the logic in having five to stifle the creativity of Pineaar and Fellani but with Park and Granero in such chronically poor form, they may as well not have been there. Jenas was having to defend mainly so we no one who could create very much. This was particularly evident in the second half prior to Taraabt (or 'Tarabet' as the local MC called him!) and Diakite came on. The midfield we ended up with was the one who should have started in my view. Redknapp should have rolled the dice and given Diakite a start - what did he have to lose?

All in all it was very disappointing and we look condemned, in all but mathematical possibility. Whatever happens between now and the end of the season we need to flush out some of these underachievers (Boswinga, Park, Granero immediately spring to mind). I don't mind going down a division or two - I just want to see a 'team' play the QPR way and give the fans something to look forward to. Interesting to see the Everton programme did a feature on Simon Barker who gave ten years to the R's and left it all out on the pitch week in week out. His kind are sorely missed in my view.

RonisRs added 12:03 - Apr 15
re: Mbia, from the Fulham game the commentators were talking about him with 9 yellows and if he gets another, then he gets a one match suspension. He got a yellow last weekend agisnt Wigan, so I was assuming it was 1 match ban. he was sorely missed.
It was good to see Daikaite come back and play, I have always liked, and hope he stays and gets given the chance.
as for Taarabt, I agree he should be shifted out with the rest of the lazy B's, ie that is if they can shift them.

I agree with MelakaRanger, the one thing is we can be thankful of, is that we have the likes of TF, and I also belive that they will get it fixed. Although its never a great thing, I think relegation may do us good, 1 step back 2 steps forward.

isawqpratwcity added 12:38 - Apr 15
Appreciate the report, Clive, and agree that its diappointing that none of the team acknowledged the travellers. Maybe it hit them hard, too.

Still mathematically possible, but Sunderland made it 10 points plus goal difference to make up. I can still hope and support, but I can't believe.

QPunkR added 12:49 - Apr 15
Still in amazement at that midfield 3 the manager picked to go out and battle Everton. Battle, ha.
I don't see how having Sean Derry in the mix there would make that team any worse. At least the guy gives a sh!t and actually tries, unlike most others, with Granero and Bosw@nker currently top of the tree.

RonisRs added 13:48 - Apr 15
amazing to see Heider Helguson still going and scoring importnant goals for Cardiff. The irony is that he will pass us on route to the EPL waving as we go down a notch.

budaranger added 15:45 - Apr 15
good write up Clive...

the majority of the players this season have not warranted receiving a wage, and I would like to think their careers will be tainted for being part of such a useless bunch of w@nkers. Really dont know how some can call themselves 'professional footballers'...only shame is that none of them need to find another club as they have earnt a packet from us, as Im sure they would struggle to find employment elsewhere after this pathetic season...

parker64 added 15:51 - Apr 15

Myke added 16:49 - Apr 15
Good report Clive. Downbeat but thats perfectly understandable. I had advocated for Granero's inclusion this week and was frankly embarrassed by his 'performance'. Okay he was again played out of position at the base of the mid-field trio instead of at it's tip, but i know based on that show it would have made little difference. For that mid-feild to be bossed by a player as limited as Gibson is an embarrassment. According to today's media reports Harry left out Mbia as he was on 9 yellows and one more 'guarenteed' card vEverton meant a 2 match ban. To me that's a scandalous decision to make- dropping a player bang in form based on a 'maybe' situation. So now he's free to play but it doesn't matter anymore. Far better to get booked on the way to inspiring a victory over Everton than to be free to play in 5 dead rubbers. So although the players are mostly to blame. let's not exonerate Harry (what has Bothroyd done - had sex with Harry's wife?) or Tony either - both have made serious errors of judgement this season

JonDoeman added 17:41 - Apr 15
A good report Lewis, must be you're getting mistaken for Clive.
I suspected that Maloney equaliser would be a kick in the bollocks too far, no fight after that deflected goal, they are done. Roll on next season.
Disappointed to hear that not one of the acknowledged the fans, overpaid under-performing wánkers!

JB007007 added 20:00 - Apr 15
Another spot on report.
Never mind the Maloney equaliserJon, I think the final nail was Agbonlahor's last month. I can honestly say, I haven't recovered from that yet.
It was good to see Diakite back. I personally hope he stays as I would like to see him get a real run next season. He could do really well in the Championship if his dicipline is right.
Roll on 19th May.

JohnMacQPR added 00:05 - Apr 16
The most frustrating thing about this season - both under MH and since Harry arrived - is that pretty much the same team can play so differently from one week to the next. Some real spirit - eg, the first hour at Man City, until Dzeko's goal overtook Zamorra's equalizer; the Away match at Tottenham (except for the 10-minute tea break, when Spurs scored their 2 goals); winning at Chelsea: losing at Fulham (until about 70 mins, when "the other" Team appeared!!); and the first half at Villa (and even all their efforts in the second half, culminating in Clint's inches-wide miss at the final whistle - but at other times total disinterest, slack marking (if any at all), no sharpness and bite, despite our position.

Individual players are equally inconsistent. Zamora didn't look interested in walking around in some matches, but at other times has played brilliantly when he really ought to have been watching the match from a wheelchair. Clint Hill has been the epitome of inspiration, both as captain and before that - despite his limitations - but a few times has allowed his limitations overtake and bury his spirit. Bosingwa (yup, you spell it just the way you say it .... unless you're being rude and start with an adjective) is a classic example: started slowly and then went downhill; couldn't really be a*sed for MH and was dropped, but - after he came back into the team in 2013 - has, at times, been really excellent [never thought I'd see myself write that!!! and I exclude his crossing, which is usually atrocious.] but he now seems back to his "old form", yet he was very good at Southampton, Villa and Fulham. And - at times - to be good in the 1st half and bad in the second half .... and vice-versa. I could go on, but I believe this judgement says a great deal about why we will now be relegated.

[NB. I was an optimist according to my QPR friends, but I saw exactly how we would gain the extra 7 points we needed to come back from the dead in 2013 .... and we played well enough in the matches I thought were key to do exactly that: a point at West Ham and at home to City; should have beaten Norwich; beat Southampton and Sunderland; should have beaten Villa and Wigan; could have beaten Fulham and deserved a point. If some, never mind most (or all!) of those had happened, we'd be smiling down on several clubs even before the bottom three. So, it was ours to retrieve (despite MH and 2012) and we didn't!!]

For both the team ad individual players to be so inconsistent must surely be down to the manager (not just MH, but our "Messiah" as well) as well as the players' own professionalism. Sometimes some of them have seemed to try too hard, which needs a good captain and a good manager to get them to calm down a little - except it ends up getting worse as they end up trying even harder. Too often, however, they haven't tried enough ... or they've been too conservative, to ensure THE INDIVIDUAL himself wasn't responsible for a mistake that then lost the game. Passivity and over-defensiveness doesn't win games in any league, other than if you are really lucky (and QPR are not lucky this season .... because you make your own luck by trying something different). Sadly in a few matches, even Adel Tarabt has stopped trying to do the impossible, because it only works sometimes! As you said Lewis (or Clive or whoever you are!) after an hour at Goodison, "Rangers finally had something they had been missing for the majority – a link between the midfield and Remy" - while Adel doesn't always succeed, this season I believe he has always tried .... indeed, he was even trying at times when we didn't have a (genuine) striker for him to link with!! Unlike RonisRs, I only wish we could keep him next season - he could run the Championship ragged and - while we are looking at the flying pigs - Remy would be his willing partner in crime, as we waltzed back to the Prem. Sadly I can't see either of them at Loftus Road (except, perhaps, in a Cup match).

MH was a disaster, but look back at some of his matches this season and think where we might have picked up a few more points if the ball had gone a few inches in a different direction on a few occasions ... then what Harry nearly achieved. Our squad of players is good enough to be in a comfortable mid-table position (or better); it's just the "team" that has failed.

I've said "hello" to Tony Fernandez and Philip Beard (and I own a few worthless shares), but that's the limit of my contact with the Board, but - if what I've just said makes sense - the position we are in is not their fault. It's down to the players themselves - not enough consistency, team spirit or taking responsibility, for themselves or the collective. Sadly, the team this season has been too full of Thatcherites: too much individualism, to hell with the team; as long as "I'm Alright Jack", it's OK. There is such a thing as "Society" - it's spelled Q ... P ... R ... and it's a Club, a team, the players, the fans and (even) the armchair supporters - one single, integrated, multi-faceted organism. This season we've been disjointed and unconnected far too often.

We might be down, but we are not out. We'll cheer on the team for it's remaining matches - at Loftus Road, Reading and Liverpool. Let's hope the team respond and play with their hearts and their skills, whether we win, lose or draw. But, the important thing now is to prepare for next season ... for a victorious campaign (after all, we did that not so long ago ... I'm looking forward to winning at Watford, yet again!) and for the players to all show how good they will be next season. Even the players who haven't quite showed their skills this season, next season ought to be easier for them to show how good they really are. Shouldn't it??

TacticalR added 02:01 - Apr 16
'What are they doing on the training field?' Good question.

The match felt like a formality. We kept giving the ball away by bad passing, and didn't win anything in midfield. At times our goal was under constant siege, and our backs couldn't seem to prevent crosses coming in. For the goal, Gibson had already had a similar shot five minutes earlier from an identical position and nearly scored.

Granero. Not an easy afternoon as he was up against Fellaini and Pienaar, but simply not cut out for the rough and tumble of the Premiership. In the passage of play that eventually led to the first Everton goal, he had time and space to bring the ball down, but just wacked it forward and gave Everton possession. As you pointed out, his corners were awful.

Onuaha. Looked very poor in possession, and goes to pieces once he gets past the half-way line.

Rémy. A bright spot on a dark afternoon. The way he takes his shots early is phenomenal.

Jenas. Some bad passes and seems to disappear for the game for long periods.

Taarabt. We came to live when he came on. He needs an absolute minimu of 45 minutes a match, not just 20-30 minutes.

Bosingwa. What can you say? Seems to be on a different planet to everyone else.

QPRFish added 12:48 - Apr 16

francisbowles added 13:35 - Apr 16
For me JohnMacQPR sums up the season very well.

Unfortunately, as we have seen many times over the years, when you perform well or start games well and don't get the points or early goals your confidence is gradually eroded. When that happens you are on the slippery slope as even when you try to battle back, anything that goes wrong becomes magnified and knocks you down again. Seventeen games without a win!

I believe our defence was the route cause of our problem. A lot of us were concerned about this last summer (and the summer before) when we signed midfielder after midfielder but no centre backs. For all the good defensive play of Nelson and the courage of Clint Hill, against premier class opponents we had give them protection, and lots of it, to keep the score down. Samba for Nelson hasn't really helped as he came in unfit and rusty, we gained a bit of height and pace but we lost Nelson's reading of the game, positioning and calming influence. We thought we could open up a bit but as soon as we did we started to leak goals.

Last season we ground out home wins against Spurs and Arsenal and almost away on the last day at Man City by protecting our weak back four. We had/made a few bits of luck on the run in e.g. Tarabt's soft goal v Spurs, the unlikely comeback against Liverpool and the last minute winner against Stoke. We just about survived.

This season we probably had our best spell in January when we defended deep and protected our back four, kept clean sheets, BEAT CHELSEA!, and picked up a few draws.

At other times when we haven't played this way or haven't done it properly teams
have played through us, around us and even outmuscled us. e.g. Liverpool, Swansea and Everton.

It's not just centre back either. On many occasions we have been short of a left back and have had no consistency in either full back positions. Whoever has played here has always needed lots of protection, a Mackie or SWP to put in lots of running.

Of course the other problem this causes is that by playing deep, you invite teams to attack you, put yourselves under pressure and mistakes are more likely to occur.

It may not be quite so critical in the Championship as you get away with a bit more but if we come back up defence has to be the priority.

JAPRANGERS added 14:52 - Apr 16
As someone said, performance related pay is the way to go. So Boswanker is on a fiver and a pack of salt and vinegar crisps for his "performance".

shooters47 added 07:48 - Apr 17
Perhaps we should go and get Helguson, Smith and Connolly back from Cardiff as they seem to know how to get promoted!!

As my good friend Fish said last night " At least we don't have to go to Wales next season"

Every cloud and all that!!!

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